Matt Charlton at Finca de Arrieta his Lanzarote Retreats experience

We recently hosted travel writer Matt Charlton at Finca de Arrieta and he’s kindly shared the following about his Lanzarote Retreats experience…

A word which has been bandied about over the last few years, but particularly since that pesky pandemic, is ‘sustainability’, which immediately feels ironic as soon as you arrive at a hotel in, say, the US, and are greeted by plastic bottles in your room and disposable cups next to the lobby water cooler.

Lanzarote has started to market itself as a sustainable destination, and they have many good reasons to lay claim to this. As early as 1993, the island was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, and in 2015, it became the first destination to receive Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification for their sustainable projects and protected spaces.

Which is, of course, incredibly laudable, but you don’t see very much evidence of it if you spend time in the all you can eat buffets of Arrecife, or in the airport, where there aren’t even stations to refill your water bottles after security.

This all changes as soon as you are greeted by the minibus of Lanzarote Retreats. Even a small gesture such as the complimentary Cava – presented to you after your bags have been bundled into the trunk – being in a washable glass rather than a plastic cup, makes you think that they might be taking this buzzword more seriously than some.

And then you arrive at the Finca De Arrieta.  Now, of course, it automatically helps that they are as far away as you can get from the package tourist hubs on an island of this size (which also means beautifully clear night skies) but boy do they follow it up. You are immediately greeted by a centaur made of driftwood, commissioned from a local artist, bearing a sign stating that it is there to ‘symbolise the unity of the staff and guests… and their joint mission to live the eco dream.’  And they really do walk the walk.

The beautiful accommodation – luxurious yet quirky – is entirely off-grid, powered by solar panels, and using as much grey water as possible…they even ask you to save your shower water and use it on the abundant cacti dotted around the resort.  There are hybrid cars available, the swimming pool is saltwater (so no horrible chemicals), and – yes – there is a water bottle refilling station. Resident site-manager Zack the Cat is also off-grid.

Essentially, they practice what they preach, and if Lanzarote as a whole is wishing to lead by example into a very different era of travel, they could do far worse than looking to a little resort in the north of the island.

Read his full travel article in The Independent.